“The stress of discipline is not fun,
but that does not mean that there is not
a happy home”
Everyone that works on a tugboat, offshore or any other job that keeps you away from home for a prolonged period of time knows this feeling. You get home and the kids tackle you like they were a 260 pound middle linebacker chasing down a quarterback without a chance of escape. They are more excited to see you than they are to open presents on christmas morning. “Daddy’s home!!!” is what you hear being yelled as they come running. It’s a wonderful and rewarding feeling to say the least. You’ve come home from a hard couple weeks away (or maybe longer) and it makes you feel like what you’ve done is appreciated. Daddy is the greatest for a change! (HA! Take that Mommy!)
Well don’t get to comfortable being the hero. In about thirty minutes, or less, after the dust settles it happens. Your six year old daughter hits your five year old son in the head with some sort of toy that the manufacturer obviously developed with the sole purpose of incapacitating a small child by the child’s elder sibling. Now that mom has had to discipline the kids for the last 14 days or so it is your turn. Daddy will no longer be the favorite after he has to punish somebody. No longer the hero you have now become the one who delivers a punishment that the kids don’t want to hear. In my house they would both get some sort of punishment because the were both probably involved in the altercation no matter who came out on top.
This can be rather tough sometimes. You don’t want to spend your precious days at home being the bad guy. You want to have that quality time with your family that you missed so much. Nobody wants to yell at their kids or punish them and you really don’t want to when you only have a few short days at a time with them. I’m not here to tell you how to discipline your kids or how I discipline mine. I will tell you what i do after the dust settles that makes things a little better and easier to get on with your quality time at home.
No matter how mild or severe the consequences I always do this. When every thing is done I give them a chance to think about what happened, what they did and what happened after they did it. I then go into their rooms separately and talk to them. Ask them if they understand why they got in trouble and if they say no I explain it to them. If they say yes I ask them to explain it to me so I’m positive we’re on the same page. Then I talk to them about why they shouldn’t do that and how it effected the people around them. After a calm talk they are very likely to understand and then everyone can move on having learned a lesson. A lesson you’ll have to teach them over and over again because they have an extremely short and selective memory.
Just remember that just as kids make mistakes so do we as parents. Sometimes we overreact or don’t always say the right thing in the moment but if we take a minute to sit down with our children and talk to them they will have a better understanding of why we do what we do, right and wrong, and they will understand why they got themselves into trouble in the first place. Then when daddy leaves to go drive the big boat he’ll be a hero all over again, but they’ll probably like mommy more by that time.